ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Shelley Tanner ended up regretting accepting help from her credit union during the pandemic. Signing up for a two-month deferment program led to her car being repossessed, she says, without warning.
That led to her having to postpone visits to patients because, as a traveling nurse, her 2015 Chevrolet Impala is her office.
“Of course all my nursing stuff is in the car, so I don’t have any of my equipment,” Tanner said. “I had to first go out and rent a car, then I had to go get a new blood pressure cuff. I had to replace what I could so I could still do my work.”
Tanner says she accepted an offer from Mid Florida Credit Union to defer March and April payments during the pandemic. That triggered an audit of her account and she says she was informed that she had already missed one payment, but the collections representative could not pin-point which payment.
Tanner says the representative would give her a month he claimed she’d missed a payment for, and she’d quickly find the canceled check to prove she had indeed paid.
She thought she was continuing to work on an answer to the problem with the representative, she says, when she went outside her home Saturday night to find that her car was gone. Tanner called law enforcement and discovered it had been repossessed.
She says she still wasn’t given an answer as to where the missing payment came from. So she turned to Better Call Behnken for help. Investigative Reporter Shannon Behnken reached out to Mid Florida, and within hours, a senior executive called to conduct an audit.
Tanner says she was told that audit showed that the computer had flagged her account for a repossession because her payments have been short by 66 cents each month.
As a result, Mid Florida, she says, has decided to pay the $400 repossession fee and pay to have her car towed right back to her driveway.
A spokesman for Mid Florida sent an email to Better Call Behnken that said, in part:
“Please be assured that while the State of Florida does not require prior notice of repossession, our goal is to help members maintain their vehicle. Before we move to a repossession, we attempt to contact the member by phone, mail and even door-knock service (which provides a hand delivered notice if the member answers at the physical address provided) so that we can work with them to make suitable short term arrangements.”
Tanner insists that didn’t happen in her case.
The Mid Florida spokesperson wrote: “I’m glad this could be resolved for Ms. Tanner and appreciate your involvement to help encourage the necessary communication to make this happen.”